Former sixth form teacher, now Lib Dem Deputy Leader in Manchester, Richard Kilpatrick has warned that the rise in school exclusions is perpetuating the city’s knife crime crisis.
Today’s Ministry of Justice figures show a 44% increase in knife offences resulting in a charged and cautioned in Greater Manchester from 766 in 2013 to 1,099 in 2019.
Responding to today’s figures, Kilpatrick said:
“Too many families are being ripped apart by Manchester’s knife crime crisis and it is being perpetuated by a lack of support for our young people.
“Until we dramatically reduce school exclusions, increase youth services and family support centres, we will never successfully get to grips of this knife crime crisis.
“There is a clear link between children who are excluded from school or do not have access to the community and youth support services they need and the rise in knife crime.
“Conservative cuts to youth services and education have spiralled out of control and are undoubtedly responsible for a rise in exclusions and a rise in knife crime but police alone cannot solve this crisis.
“We must work harder to keep our children in school and out of gangs.”
Across the country, figures show that there were 22,041 knife and offensive weapons offences in 2018-19, the highest total since 2009-10. In the first three months of 2019 alone, there were 5,759 offences, making it the worst quarter since July-September 2009.
These figures also show that 9,374 people have been given a mandatory prison sentence for a second offence of possession of a knife or offensive weapon under Section 28 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 since January 2016, with an average sentence length of 7.6 months. The cost per prisoner in 2017-18 was £37,543 per year, meaning the total cost of these mandatory sentences is approximately £221 million